John Smith and/or John Chipman of Sandwich (1651 deposition)?

+3 votes

A copy of the 1651 deposition "is printed in the REGISTER, vol. iv. pp. 23-4, furnished by the Rev. R. Manning Chipman, now of Lisbon, Ct."   Can someone check the Register vol. 4:23-24 to see if the father mentioned in the deposition is a Thomas Smith or a Thomas Chipman?

A previous G2G question on this matter has been closed, so I am starting a new one.  It was concluded that the 1651 deposition was by John Chipman, not John Smith.  However, it apparently says he was about 37, which would match the 1614 birth year of John Smith (John Chipman, born 1621 would have only been 30 years old).  And John Chipman did not come over 21 years before 1651 (i.e. 1630).  The following appears in the biography of Rev. John Smith:  

It appears from this document, that the father of Rev. Mr. S. was Thomas Smith of Brinspittae, about 5 m. from Dorchester in Dorsetshire. The deposition is that of the son himself, "John, now, Feb. 8, 1651, in Barnstable, New Plymouth Colony. The sd. John, only son and heir, supposeth his age about 37, it being, next May, 21 yrs. since he came out from England."

P.S.  I cannot tell if this John Smith is mentioned in The Great Migration Directory (the two John Smiths listed in Plymouth Colony have little information except references to other Great Migration reference books).

Rev. John Smith (Smith-6919)

John Chipman (Chipman-40)


WikiTree profile: John Smith
in Genealogy Help by Kenneth Kinman G2G6 Mach 7 (73.9k points)
edited by Kenneth Kinman
I've re opened the other thread.
There are a slew of John Smiths in the Great Migration Directory, none of which pertain to this man.

3 Answers

+4 votes
I found the deposition online, and it says that it was dated 08 February 1657 (Old Style; 1658 New Style), not 08 February 1651.  Therefore, it does match John Chipman who would have been about 37 years old, and it would have been 21 years since he came to Massachusetts in May 1637.   Source:

That being solved, there is still the problem of whether Rev. John Smith was the one who was born in 1614 (son of Thomas Smith and Joan Doan).  In any case, he was not the one who had sisters named Hannah and Tamsen (those were the names of John Chipman's sisters).  

by Kenneth Kinman G2G6 Mach 7 (73.9k points)
edited by Kenneth Kinman
Where on the source link you provide is the deposition? I couldn't find it.
The published version in NEHGR 4:24 says 8 Feb 1651 and adds this comment: "On the left hand margin is written as follows, viz.] The sd John Chipman Supposeth his age to be about thirty seven years; it being next may Twenty & one year Since he come out of England."
Did finally find the deposition on Her transcription of it differs from the transcription published in NEHGR. Would be great to find the original.

I could certainly imagine someone incorrectly transcribing a seven as a one. Or vice versa.
In 1877 the original deposition was in the possession of one William C Chipman of Sandwich.
In 1881, NEHGR republished the deposition in 35:127-128. They borrowed the original from its owner and had it retranscribed anew. It still says 1651 not 1657.
There is a TAG article 61:2 confirming the 1657/8 date also.
The TAG article which is from 1983 concludes on p. 6 "The Evidence presented in this paper shows that the origin, date of birth and year of immigration of the Rev. John Smith of Sandwich are unknown." This is based on the fact that the deposition is for Chipman not Smith, so where did the Thomas Smith m. to Joan Doan come from in the first place?

The American Genealogist vol. 61 no. 1 (January/April 1985):2-6. The Reverend John Smith and Elder John Chipman of Sandwich: A confusion of Origins, by Russell A. Lovell Jr. LINK

I put the above source on the profile along with some notes regarding the conclusions.

We still need to know if there is any evidence for his parents Thomas Smith and Joan Doan and the 11 March 1614 birth date.  From what I can tell this identification is related to the incorrect belief that he was from Briantspuddle, Dorsetshire, and is almost certainly incorrect.  I think the date should be deleted and the parents detached.  If you leave the parents, it would only be because the error is so wide-spread that they will just come back and it gives you a place to discuss the errors made in print.

Besides the TAG article 61:2, the Great Migration Directory (page 64) gives another source, saying that "John Chipman's letter describing his arrival in New England is properly date 8 February 1657/58 [NEHGR, 79:248].

The NEHGR article is actually 79: 428 not 248. and essentially is another repetition of the deposition in question with the corrected date
+6 votes
I have proposed merges of the non existent Smith sisters into their correct Chipman counterparts.
by Jillaine Smith G2G6 Pilot (803k points)
Thanks Jillaine
+1 vote
Now that the deposition problem has been largely solved, I am shifting my attention to whether John Smith (baptized 1614 at Powerstock, Dorsetshire) is the John Smith of Barnstable and Sandwich, Massachusetts.  

Powerstock and Brinspittel (now Briantspuddle) are both somewhat close to Dorchester, so it is possible John Smith and John Chipman came over together on the same ship in 1637 (first record of John Smith is in 1640).  They certainly knew one another in Barnstable and in Sandwich (and are buried close to one another).  

Another clue might come from the names of the children of John Smith, especially Shubal, Dorcas, and Ichabod.  John Smith of Powerstock was the grandson of Shubael Doan, There seem to be no Shubal's in the Hinckley family until later, so the Hinckleys are probably not the source of the name Shubal for John Smith and Susannah Hinckley (some of the older children seem to be named for her side of the family).

 I still haven't figured out where the names Dorcas and Ichabod came from (Smiths, Hinckleys, or other source).

by Kenneth Kinman G2G6 Mach 7 (73.9k points)
edited by Kenneth Kinman
At we looking at the same thing as I don't see the baptism of a John Smith in Powerstock in 1614 ?There are three Johns (Roberts, Hayward and Hyne)
That's a good question.  There is definitely a 09 May 1613 marriage record for Thomas Smith and Joane Donn at Poorstock (now Powerstock).  But I am wondering where their son John Smith was baptized and where the 11 March 1614 date came from.
For what it is worth, my scribbled notes from way back in the 1980s say the following (unfortunately without a source):
"Thomas Smith (bp. 07 March 1573, St. Nicholas Church, Ipswich, Suffolk, England).  For many years he was the proprietor of a chandler's shop at Ipswich, Suffolk, and later became a partner with his father-in-law at Briantspuddle (7 miles east of Dorchester), Dorsetshire, England.  He was married on 09 May 1613, to Joan Doane (Donne), daughter of Shubael Doane (chandler of Powerstock and West Milton)."
I don't know if it can be confirmed that Thomas Smith was a chandler at Briantspuddle (and Shubael Doane a chandler at Powerstock).  But if they were, the son John Smith would have been born (1614) at Briantspuddle, not Powerstock.  

The whole point of of the correction article in NEHGR and the article in TAG is to point out that the published English origin of Rev. John Smith was based on a complete misreading of a deposition that had nothing to do with him.  As such, there is absolutely nothing to connect him to any location in England or to any Smith family in England.

Even if there was a Thomas Smith who married Joan Doan and had a son John, there would be no reason to think this is the correct John Smith.  It is absolutely unreasonable to even suggest that someone married in Ipswich was a chandler in Briantspuddle, they are not close.  John Smith is vastly too common a name to make any identification without solid evidence based on wills, baptisms and other legal documents.  I think it is pretty clear that this whole thing is a 150 year old error which was corrected long ago.

It's time to disconnect, put in some notes and move on.

Actually what I said was that Thomas Smith (supposedly a chandler in Ipswich) supposedly went into business at Briantspuddle with Shubael Doane (chandler at Powerstock).  If they were both chandlers and happened to have met in London (between Ipswich and Powerstock) and Thomas Smith then married Shubael's daughter, it would be natural for the marriage to be in her hometown of Powerstock.  But they would have lived in Briantspuddle where Thomas Smith was running the new chandler's shop.    

So I am not ready to move on quite yet.  In spite of the 150 year-old error, that could just be the "bath water", and there might be a "baby" in there to be discovered.  John Chipman and John Smith could be from the same town and come over together in 1637.   But to be on the safe side, I have marked John Smith's parents as uncertain, and his birth information as uncertain as well.  I am also looking at trees that say that Thomas Smith had an older son Ichabod Smith (and John Smith did have sons named Shubael and Ichabod).  Unfortunately those trees have no good sources for the older Ichabod.
Good luck.  I think this would have been in print somewhere if true.  The only apparent source for this is the user submitted IGI and ancestral files on  If at the end of your search you can find no evidence whatsoever of a relationship between Rev. John Smith of Sandwich, Massachusetts and any Smith family in England, the parents should be disconnected.
I'm very sceptical. The name Shubael isn't a familiar name. I checked using the index for the Dorset opc and for the parish records on ancestry and definitely no hits.

Why would anyone have a chandler's  shop in Briantspuddle.It's a tiny hamlet . If someone owned land there and had a business elsewhere it would most likely be in Dorchester, ( or possibly Weymouth, Bridport etc.)

These towns were run by burgesses who  very jealous of their privileges and made it  very difficult/impossible for 'foreigners' to set up shop.

There were however Smiths in Briantspuddle ;

according to Hutchins

"1683, William Smith, John Smith, and

William Far, sold to William Frampton, esq.

one-fourth of this manor"

​ But Smith , is such a common name

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